Byron Barton’s books about Trains, Boats, Machines at Work, and other things that go have long been favorites with the preschool crowd. They feature simple texts, bold colors, and just enough details about their subject transport to satisfy young children. Planes is the first Barton title to become an app and it rises to the occasion.
PreS-This colorful app based on the book of the same title (HarperFestival, 2006) introduces preschoolers to a plethora of aircraft from jets and seaplanes to helicopters and cargo planes. In the app version, simple animation and sound effects have been added to Barton’s vibrant illustrations.
Brief sentences describe the action on each screen as planes dust crops, ferry passengers, and perform skywriting (“drink milk”). The book is narrated, and readers can choose to hear both individual words and entire sentences repeated.
Navigation is simple, with big, bright arrows for easy page turning by small fingers. There are many ways for children to explore this title, as touching just about anything on a screen generates some sort of response. For example, children can tap scenes to hear the terms for different objects voiced as they appear in bright red print. Sounds associated with touched objects can also be heard, such as the moo of a cow or the rumble of a truck. Another feature allows viewers to drag the planes and clouds about the sky and move figures and vehicles across the screen.
Planes is a highly accessible app that children can use on their own or enjoy with an adult. It provides preschoolers with an introduction to planes specifically–and the world of iPad apps in general.— Sharon Breslow, Bridgeport Public Library, Bridgeport, CT